Blog https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/category/blog en Congratulations to 17 Charter Schools Honored as 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2020/09/28/charter-schools-2020-national-blue-ribbon-schools <span>Congratulations to 17 Charter Schools Honored as 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/melinda" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Melinda</span></span> <span>Mon, 09/28/2020 - 14:28</span> <div class="uppercase field field--name-field-news-item-types field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/latest-news/category/blog" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-author-bio field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about-us/staff/melinda-tolliver" hreflang="en">Melinda Tolliver</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-pub-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-09-28T12:00:00Z">September 28, 2020</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="media media-image view-mode-display"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/images/2020-09/16%20Charter%20Schools%20named%20as%202020%20National%20Blue%20Ribbon%20Schools.png?itok=fTAorGcT" width="250" height="250" alt="Group of high school students" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Each year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program from the U.S. Department of Education recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. And each year, a number of public charter schools make the cut and are recognized for their outstanding work on behalf of students. </p> <p>This year we celebrate the 17 charter schools awarded as 2020 National Blue Ribbon Schools:</p> <ul> <li>Eagle Academy Charter School (Alaska)</li> <li>Mexicayotl Charter School (Arizona)</li> <li>Alliance Judy Ivie Burton Technology Academy High School (California)</li> <li>LaVerne Elementary Preparatory Academy (California)</li> <li>Meadows Arts and Technology Elementary School (California)</li> <li>Wilder's Preparatory Academy Charter Middle (California)</li> <li>Highline Academy Southeast  (Colorado)</li> <li>KIPP DC Lead Academy (Washington, D.C.)</li> <li>Academy for Classical Education (Georgia)</li> <li>Johnson Elementary School (Georgia)</li> <li>Herron High School (Indiana)</li> <li>South Bronx Classical Charter School (New York)</li> <li>Constellation Schools: Westpark Community Elementary School (Ohio)</li> <li>John Rex Charter School (Oklahoma)</li> <li>Kingston Hill Academy (Rhode Island)</li> <li>Vista Academy of Austin-Mueller (Texas)</li> <li>Poder Academy (Wyoming)</li> </ul> <p>Thank you for your work serving students!</p> <p> </p> <p><em>Melinda Tolliver is the senior manager of digital strategy at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.</em></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/us-department-education" hreflang="en">U.S. Department of Education</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=24186&amp;2=field_comments&amp;3=comment" token="5ENi63KWsXV_bR07FMIssGc6DpW5NFzTam5lE-ez0P0"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 28 Sep 2020 18:28:17 +0000 Melinda 24186 at https://www.publiccharters.org What a New Harvard Study Shows About Student Performance in Charter Schools https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2020/09/11/what-new-harvard-study-shows-about-student-performance-charter-schools <span>What a New Harvard Study Shows About Student Performance in Charter Schools</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/melinda" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Melinda</span></span> <span>Fri, 09/11/2020 - 10:55</span> <div class="uppercase field field--name-field-news-item-types field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/latest-news/category/blog" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-author-bio field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about-us/staff/christy-wolfe" hreflang="en">Christy Wolfe</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-pub-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-09-11T12:00:00Z">September 11, 2020</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="media media-image view-mode-display"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/images/2020-09/shutterstock_126952106%20%281%29.png?itok=PAIE1zwG" width="250" height="250" alt="Black student in classroom with iPad" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The evidence—both anecdotal and quantitative—has consistently shown that public charter schools use the flexibilities in their school models to best serve students, especially those who are historically underserved by public schools. Now we have even more.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.educationnext.org/charter-schools-show-steeper-upward-trend-student-achievement-first-nationwide-study/">new study</a> from Harvard University’s Program on Education Policy and Governance leverages data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to look at trends in charter school student performance compared to district school students. The results are significant and demonstrate how charter schools have improved as a sector and made a significant positive impact on students.</p> <p>At the National Alliance we follow studies of student achievement at charter schools closely: this is the first nationally significant study since 2015. But not only is it a key update, it looks at charter school performance in new ways, utilizing data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress that have only recently become available to researchers. Here are some of the most significant findings:</p> <h3><strong>1. This is the first study to use nationally representative data to track changes in student achievement within public schools.</strong></h3> <p>This is important because the authors look at the pace of improvement—student performance growth over time. Up until now studies have typically compared the average performance of students. With that lens, the findings show the pace of improvement in charter schools is faster over the 12-year span. The sample examined by the researchers include more than 4 million test performances.</p> <h3><strong>2. Charter schools have improved over the years</strong>.</h3> <p>On average, district schools outperformed charter schools in 2005 in both the 4th and 8th grades—particularly in math. By 2017 those differences had disappeared. While the study doesn’t address all the possibilities explaining the improvement, it suggests the closure of lower performing schools and replacing them with more effective ones is a factor.</p> <h3><strong>3. Overall students are advancing at a faster pace in charter schools – especially Black students and students from low-income backgrounds</strong>.</h3> <p>Overall eighth graders attending charter schools show learning gains that are 3 months ahead of their district school peers from 2005 to 2017. Black students in particular were an additional 6 months ahead. Given that one in three charter school students is Black, this is especially noteworthy. Scores of those in the bottom 25% of the socioeconomic distribution increased nearly twice as much as those of students in district schools.</p> <h3><strong>4. Charter school growth slowdowns are likely due to political resistance and increasing concerns about the charter schools as innovative disrupters</strong>.</h3> <p>One reason the authors undertook the study was to identify whether performance is tied to the decline in new charter school growth that we’ve seen since 2017. And their findings show that the answer is no. Given rising achievement levels at charter schools—it is unlikely that any slowdown in growth is due to declining productivity.</p> <p>What the data from this study shows us is that—as we have already seen in prior research—charter schools are largely working for students, but especially students who are historically disadvantaged. In addition, aligns with the findings from a <strong><a href="https://bellwethereducation.org/publication/clearing-air-analysis-federal-charter-schools-program">recent study from Bellwether Education Partners</a></strong> looking at federal funds for opening up new charter schools and how it has evolved and contributed to opening more high-quality schools.</p> <p>Taken together, the research shows charter schools are finding what works through innovation, replicating their success, and ultimately producing accelerated achievement gains for students.</p> <p> </p> <p><em>Christy Wolfe is the vice president of policy and planning at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. </em></p> <p> </p> <blockquote> <h4><strong>Take a look at a summary of the <a href="https://www.educationnext.org/charter-schools-show-steeper-upward-trend-student-achievement-first-nationwide-study/">Harvard research on student performance</a>.</strong></h4> </blockquote></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/student-performance" hreflang="en">student performance</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=24065&amp;2=field_comments&amp;3=comment" token="EW7p7tnz9hzNIqRzYHuQRjAi2x_H3qt7yhQbvkXydZE"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Fri, 11 Sep 2020 14:55:55 +0000 Melinda 24065 at https://www.publiccharters.org Charter Schools Leverage “Pandemic Pods” Equitably to Meet Student Needs https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2020/09/08/charter-schools-leverage-pandemic-pods-equitably-meet-student-needs <span>Charter Schools Leverage “Pandemic Pods” Equitably to Meet Student Needs</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/melinda" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Melinda</span></span> <span>Thu, 09/03/2020 - 09:58</span> <div class="uppercase field field--name-field-news-item-types field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/latest-news/category/blog" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-author-bio field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about-us/staff/fiona-sheridan-mciver" hreflang="en">Fiona Sheridan-McIver</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-pub-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-09-08T12:00:00Z">September 8, 2020</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="media media-image view-mode-display"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/images/2020-09/Charter%20School%20Pandemic%20Pods%20Stock%20Photo%20%281%29.png?itok=JHqZsmRR" width="250" height="250" alt="Small group photo with teacher" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span><span>Facing an unprecedented back-to-school season, many families are looking for solutions to the challenge of juggling remote learning and work. As many schools reopen with remote learning, “pandemic pods”—where families pool resources to share childcare and education responsibilities—have received a lot of attention as a potential solution. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>A pod can take many forms, but in general it is a small group of students clustered to receive essential services while limiting the circle of social interaction to minimize risk during the pandemic. A pod can provide a lifeline for parents working outside the home or struggling to manage at-home work while supporting remote learning. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>While many families are independently forming pods, schools and community organizations can also leverage the concept to promote educational equity. Around the country, innovative public schools are exploring ways to leverage pods to serve their most vulnerable students and families in these challenging times.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>These are three main ways we’re seeing pods being used by charter schools to promote equity in educational access:</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong>1. Hybrid Model: In-School Cohorts and Virtual Learning</strong></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>One option in areas where schools may be able to safely reopen but lack capacity to maintain social distancing is to adopt a hybrid pod model where some students learn in self-contained in-school cohorts (pods) while others continue to learn virtually. Students in these cohorts receive instruction, academic support, and other services in school buildings, but stay with their cohort all day to minimize potential transmission and facilitate contact tracing. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Many charter schools are emphasizing equity in cohorts by prioritizing students with the greatest needs. Here are a few we can learn from in New York:</span></span></span></p> <ul> <li><span><span><span><a href="https://www.ascendlearning.org/coronavirus/">Ascend Public Charter Schools</a> has broken the school year into smaller phases with a plan to reassess whether in-person learning is possible for each phase. This approach was guided by family input from surveys and virtual town hall meetings as well as guidance from public health officials. Given space limitations, Ascend will prioritize in-person learning for key grade levels as well as for students in any grade level with special circumstances, challenges, or needs that are not easily met through distance learning. </span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span><a href="https://www.excellencecommunityschools.org/">Excellence Community Schools</a> planned for the possibility of both hybrid and fully remote models. In their hybrid model, scholars are assigned to one of two self-contained cohorts that would attend school in person two days a week and engage in distance learning on the other days, with one day a week reserved for deep cleaning and teacher professional development. </span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span><a href="https://www.kippnyc.org/remote-learning/">KIPP NYC</a> planned for a hybrid model where students in the youngest grades and with the highest learning needs receive in-person instruction in small cohorts while others remain virtual. All schools will limit cohort size to around 15 students, minimize the number of adults working in each room, serve meals in classrooms, and establish procedures for social distancing, cleaning, handwashing, and more. </span></span></span></li> </ul> <p><span><span><span><strong>2. School-Based Remote Learning Centers</strong></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Other charter schools have chosen to establish school-based remote learning centers. In this model, instruction continues virtually, but families can choose to send their children to a safe, socially distanced, and distraction-free environment outside the home to engage in distance learning with other students from their school. </span></span></span></p> <ul> <li><span><span><span><a href="https://breakthroughschools.org/remote-learning-centers/">Breakthrough Public Schools</a> in Ohio, for example, is offering remote learning centers to support families who need it most. The centers will operate out of Breakthrough buildings in partnership with Open Doors Academy (ODA), a community organization that offers year-round out-of-school learning. As instruction continues virtually, ODA staff will supervise small groups capped at nine students. If demand exceeds capacity, Breakthough will prioritize students without an adult at home during the school day. </span></span></span></li> </ul> <p><span><span><span><strong>3. Community-Based Remote Learning Centers</strong></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Many charter schools are also connecting families to pods operated by community organizations or local governments. These community-based remote learning centers are not associated with a specific school, but offer safe spaces for supervised learning, access to wifi and devices, meals, and often other enrichment activities such as art, sports, and recreation. Some of these centers are free services while others have some cost which can often be covered by scholarships or childcare subsidies.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>A few examples:</span></span></span></p> <ul> <li><span><span><span>In Wisconsin, the Carmen Schools of Science and Technology directed students to the Boys and Girls Club of Milwaukee which offered <a href="https://www.bgcmilwaukee.org/fall-registration/">in-Club support for remote learning</a>, with small group sizes and access to other Club activities. </span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span>The City of New Orleans in Louisiana opened free <a href="https://nola.gov/office-of-youth-and-families/community-learning-hubs/">Community Learning Hubs</a> in libraries and recreation facilities for students attending charter schools in the city. The Hubs are targeted at students who are without internet access, lack adult supervision during the school day, or live in challenging home environments. YMCAs around the country are also expanding their offerings to include <a href="https://www.ymca.net/child-care-and-out-of-school-time#out-of-school">remote learning centers</a> that are open to all. </span></span></span></li> </ul> <p><span><span><span>These are just a few of the innovative public schools that have leveraged the pandemic pod concept in equitable and productive ways to benefit their students. As schools adjust to the new normal in education, we look forward to seeing more of how schools are best serving students by using a flexible school model.</span></span></span></p> <p> </p> <p><span><span><span><em>Fiona Sheridan-McIver is the senior manager of policy &amp; government relations at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.</em></span></span></span></p> <p> </p> <blockquote> <h4><span><span><span>Have other equitable pod ideas to share? Let’s hear them in the comments section.</span></span></span></h4> </blockquote></div> <section> <h2>Comments</h2> <article data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-339" class="comment js-comment"> <div> <h3> <a href="/comment/339#comment-339" class="permalink" rel="bookmark" hreflang="en">new leave school app</a> </h3> <div class="metabar"> <div class="metabar__item">September 11, 2020 - 05:09pm</div> <div class="metabar__item"><span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">energizing marketing</span></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>There is a *free* app you can listen to which includes links to everything it references for more info and teaches young people how to learn without school. It was made with adolescents in mind, but the concept apply to all ages. Most importantly, it was written just before Covid and it all still applies. Covid cannot stop an empowered self-directed learning from continuing their education. Don’t believe me? Go to LEAVE-SCHOOL.com And listen for yourself.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=339&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="xz8_U8d-z8_vimQGDhnu0zYOISKR8eaYdSY0zZ41VZ0"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> </article> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=24014&amp;2=field_comments&amp;3=comment" token="-CwAGda3svSpIXir-zPPDtZXb0M47znXEh3lWe3Z0yM"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 03 Sep 2020 13:58:00 +0000 Melinda 24014 at https://www.publiccharters.org How Charter School Voters Can Make Their Voices Heard in the 2020 Election https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2020/09/03/how-charter-school-voters-can-make-their-voices-heard-2020-election <span>How Charter School Voters Can Make Their Voices Heard in the 2020 Election</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/melinda" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Melinda</span></span> <span>Mon, 08/31/2020 - 14:17</span> <div class="uppercase field field--name-field-news-item-types field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/latest-news/category/blog" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-author-bio field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about-us/staff/reed-mitchell" hreflang="en">Reed Mitchell</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-pub-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-09-03T12:00:00Z">September 3, 2020</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="media media-image view-mode-display"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/images/2020-08/Blog%20%28250px%29.png?itok=pu7c0o6a" width="250" height="250" alt="Black woman with &quot;I Vote&quot; sticker" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span><span><span><span><span>In a 2018 Florida race for governor, the final results that flipped the original election prediction on its head were because of </span></span></span><a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/school-choice-moms-tipped-the-governors-florida-race-1542757880"><strong><span><span><span>school</span></span></span></strong><span><span><span> <strong>choice</strong></span></span></span></a><span><span><span>. The desire for all children to have access to a high-quality education drove 100,000 Black women to the Florida voting booth—and they did not vote in the way people predicted they might. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>More than just a civic duty, voting is the essential piece of our democracy that allows voices—ours and others—to be heard and listened to. With our vote, we can affect change in policies that effect our schools and students.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Regardless of your political affiliation, we can and should hold our candidates and elected officials accountable, as it is our job to make sure those in power listen to the people they claim to support. Here’s what you can do to make your voice heard this 2020 election:</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong><span><span><span>Register to Vote (Or Check Your Registration Status)</span></span></span></strong></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Making sure you are registered to vote is the first step! If you want to register to vote or are unsure about your voting status, visit our </span></span></span><a href="https://p2a.co/FouKOVE"><strong><span><span><span>Charters</span></span></span></strong><span><span><span> <strong>Vote</strong> <strong>hub</strong></span></span></span></a><span><span><span>. With the portal, you can do both—as well as get set up to vote early or as an absentee if your state allows, and even find your polling location when we get closer to the election. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Allowing yourself the opportunity to vote takes only a few easy steps and can impact the schools in your area greatly.  </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong><span><span><span>Pay Attention to the Down-ballot Elections</span></span></span></strong></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Down-ballot elections—those for the local and state levels—can be especially influential on the access students have to high-quality public schools. Charter schools are most effected by those in these positions, so it’s just as important to vote in these elections as it is in the presidential election. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>As just one very timely example, school reopening decisions related to COVID-19 are being made at the local level—that’s your school board and mayor. Or in some cases, the governor may be the decision maker. Regardless of how you personally feel about school reopening, these choices are being made for you and your students.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>For another state-level policy example that affects public schools, funding equity is a huge issue. Your state legislature—who you elect—holds the power to make decisions that will have an impact on the funding your school receives.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>That’s why it is so important to </span></span></span><a href="https://p2a.co/FouKOVE?action=meetthecandidates"><strong><span><span><span>know your candidates</span></span></span></strong></a><span><span><span> all the way down the ballot—federal, state, and local. Whether or not the candidate you prefer makes it into office, you can still have a direct effect on the policies that are put in place by raising your voice as a constituent. And ultimately, if you do not like those policies, fight back at the ballot.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong><span><span><span>Keep in Mind What You are Voting For</span></span></span></strong></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>This past spring when the COVID-19 outbreak moved nearly every school across the U.S. to distance learning, charter schools used the flexibility of their school model to do it quickly. In addition to daily lessons, they provided food, technology, and emotional support, to their students and communities, despite the immense challenge.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Charter schools are an essential part of our public education system—especially for historically marginalized and underserved communities whose zip codes have ruled their futures too long. Voting allows us to advocate for students and families who have been pushed to the side and silenced for decades.  </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>We are stronger in numbers. When we all vote we are more powerful, and we can do more to ensure that those in power understand that we are here, and we are watching. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong><span><span><span>Take Advantage of Voter Registration and Resources</span></span></span></strong></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>There are a number of organizations dedicated to ensuring we are all registered and empowered to vote—regardless of party lines.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>To provide additional resources to schools, the National Alliance has partnered with </span></span></span><a href="https://www.whenweallvote.org/"><strong><span><span><span>When We All Vote</span></span></span></strong></a><span><span><span>, a non-partisan nonprofit co-founded by Michelle Obama. The organization’s mission is to increase participation in every election and close the race and age voting gap by changing the culture around voting, harnessing grassroots energy, and through strategic partnerships to reach every American. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>Sign up to learn more about the </span></span></span><a href="https://secure.everyaction.com/wHVf6nbuXUShRcu1mxTaoA2"><strong><span><span><span>My School Votes initiative</span></span></span></strong></a><span><span><span> to join the team, make your voice heard, and raise the voices of those in your school community.  </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><strong><span><span><span>And—Most Importantly—Vote!</span></span></span></strong></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>The coronavirus pandemic has brought so many uncertainties into our everyday lives: food security, job security, the future of our economy, and the future of education. One thing we still have is our democracy. We still have the power to bring elected officials into office who have our best interests in mind.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span><span><span>We may not know what tomorrow holds, therefore we must act today and use our vote to enact the policies that protect our schools and students. </span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p> </p> <p><span><span><span><em><span><span><span>Reed Mitchell is the communications coordinator at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.</span></span></span></em></span></span></span></p> <p> </p> <p><span><span><span><strong><span><span><span>Check your registration status and learn about your down-ballot candidates in the </span></span></span></strong><a href="https://p2a.co/FouKOVE"><strong><span><span><span>Charters Vote hub</span></span></span></strong></a><span><span><span>.</span></span></span></span></span></span></p></div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=23978&amp;2=field_comments&amp;3=comment" token="JwRHY4svHjmMiheWD9y16haqrdiAbvGnscO_a6R6j6Y"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 31 Aug 2020 18:17:48 +0000 Melinda 23978 at https://www.publiccharters.org Bellwether Clears the Air on the CSP: A Brief look at Key Findings on Accountability, Innovation, and Data https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2020/09/01/bellwether-clears-air-csp-brief-look-key-findings-accountability-innovation <span>Bellwether Clears the Air on the CSP: A Brief look at Key Findings on Accountability, Innovation, and Data </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/melinda" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Melinda</span></span> <span>Mon, 08/31/2020 - 15:55</span> <div class="uppercase field field--name-field-news-item-types field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/latest-news/category/blog" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-author-bio field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about-us/staff/christy-wolfe" hreflang="en">Christy Wolfe</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-pub-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-09-01T12:00:00Z">September 1, 2020</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="media media-image view-mode-display"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/images/2020-09/shutterstock_1531056911%20%282%29.jpg?itok=Xy3zeq2b" width="250" height="250" alt="Young student looking at 3D-printing model" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Earlier this year, the National Alliance set the stage for a greater conversation around the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) with our new <a href="https://www.publiccharters.org/sites/default/files/documents/2020-06/CSP%20Annual%20Report%20_%20Final.pdf">CSP annual report</a>, which details the recent grant awards of the program, profiles grantees and provides important context around recent appropriations.</p> <p>A new analysis from Bellwether Education Partners, <em><a href="https://bellwethereducation.org/publication/clearing-air-analysis-federal-charter-schools-program">Clearing the Air: An Analysis of the Federal Charter Schools Program</a></em>, adds to the CSP conversation with a different focus and takes a much more in-depth look at the CSP. The report builds our knowledge base of the impact of the CSP in several key ways, including quantifying its impact on creating high quality seats, and provides a comprehensive look at the CSP’s history, evolution, and future. The CSP is unique among federal programs in that it provides short-term funding to support the creation and expansion of new public schools. Once the schools are open, they receive funding as public schools in accordance with state law.</p> <p>Rather than attempt to summarize the entire report, I’ll just highlight one of their findings and a few recommendations. The report deserves a read, and they have helpfully provided summary documents of their findings and recommendations.</p> <h3><strong>Finding: CSP program accountability is significant, especially compared to other federal programs </strong></h3> <p>Bellwether makes an interesting comparison of CSP program accountability compared to other federal programs<span><span><span>—</span></span></span>an analysis that has not been a part of any recent CSP program analyses. The charter school community is significantly different from how it looked in 1994. It makes sense then that the CSP has evolved to address and meet the needs of families and communities. For example, the Improving America’s Schools Act version of the CSP was relatively svelte and brief in terms of the amount of space it took up in the Elementary and Secondary Act. Perhaps not surprisingly, this section was heavily negotiated during the Every Student Succeeds Act and includes much more detail—some of it helpful, some of it less so.</p> <p>Clearing the Air describes ways the CSP has met needs that include charter schools’ limited access to facilities, stronger authorizing practices and accountability, and growth of high-quality charter management organizations (CMOs) capable of replicating their models to meet families’ demand. The analysis clearly explains how the U.S. Department of Education administers the program, and how the Department has enhanced the ways it monitors grantees and improved data collection.</p> <p>It also takes a look at the CSP compared to other larger federal grant programs, including the (now defunct) School Improvement Grant (SIG) Program and the Magnet Schools Program and finds that there’s at least as much, if not more, reporting and accountability in place for CSP funds compared to other programs.</p> <p>While the administration of most federal programs can always benefit from improvement, allegations of lax oversight of the CSP compared to other programs are not accurate. Congress appropriated nearly $6.2 billion to SIG from 2009-2014—more than four times the appropriations made to the CSP during that same period—despite research showing it had little to no impact. Magnet schools received ten times as much funding as the CSP and there is little research on its impact.</p> <h3><strong>Recommendation: The CSP needs a better articulated case for innovation, more risk tolerance </strong></h3> <p>Clearing the Air also addresses innovation—namely how the CSP is intended to both fund innovation while also funding high-quality schools and proven models. Bellwether highlights the internal tension of the program and identifies it as a critical piece to address to ensure programmatic impact. Since 2010, the program has made significant investments in replicating and expanding high-quality charter schools through the CMO program. The state entity and developer programs, on the other hand, have priorities for single-site applicants and novice applicants. Bellwether states that “this balancing act has not adequately encouraged innovation” as not all single-site schools are innovative and, conversely, not all CMOs are not innovative.</p> <p>The CSP and other programs that fund innovation require a certain tolerance for failure since innovation is, by definition, new and untested. Bellwether recommends that Congress more clearly articulate the risk tolerance that innovation necessitates, and that both Congress and the Department take steps to ensure innovation is part of its funding streams. The report makes several suggestions to strengthen the program’s focus on innovation, such as setting aside funds for unproven models and directing credit enhancement the facility needs of schools with a higher risk profile.</p> <p>Unlike district schools, a failing charter school is designed to close if the terms of its accountability agreement are not met. Charter schools can also close for other reasons—such as when they are under-enrolled or if they lose their facility and are forced to close. About 4% of CSP-funded charter schools close each year, compared to 3% of district schools. Bellwether says that without a clear case for innovation, critics will more easily say CSP funds are wasted. Innovation requires a level of risk that may result in high quality education opportunities for kids but may also result in school closure: closing schools isn’t waste—it is a means of ensuring that as many students as possible receive a high quality education.</p> <h3><strong>Recommendation: Better measure, capture, and communicate the CSP’s impact </strong></h3> <p>The complexity of the CSP and charter schools across different states create significant data collection challenges at the federal (and national) level. Bellwether argues that current data collection is insufficient to support effective program evaluation—which is the case for most federal education programs, unfortunately.</p> <p>Given the current political climate scrutiny faced by the program, it recommends that the agency overhaul it data collection to ensure it can measure CSP impact, as well as track the impact of changes to the CSP more efficiently. The more we can all learn from the CSP, the more we can do to support families and students across the country reach their goals.</p> <p>The CSP has a long history of bipartisan support for charter schools. It saw a record 32% increase in a single year under President Obama—the highest since President Clinton—and greater than its increase so far during the Trump administration. CSP-funded schools serve a greater proportion of low-income students and students of color (60% and 64% respectively) compared to district schools (51% and 41%).</p> <p>While parent demand persists, nevertheless, opponents are calling to slow the growth of charter schools. Some even argue that students are better off staying in their “neighborhood” school, even if it is not serving them well—many of those in redlined communities closed off to high-quality schools.</p> <p>In a time when record numbers of students will be experiencing significant learning loss, ensuring access to high-quality schools is even more critical. Clearing the Air does just that—it addresses the impact of the CSP on creating new high-quality schools and makes recommendations for how the program can continue to expand educational opportunities for students who need it most. Now and in years to come.</p> <p> </p> <p><em>Christy Wolfe is the vice president of policy and planning at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools</em></p> <p> </p> <blockquote> <h4>Read the <a href="https://bellwethereducation.org/sites/default/files/Bellwether_CSPAnalysis_FullReport_Final.pdf">full report</a> from Bellwether Education Partners.</h4> </blockquote></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/charter-schools-program" hreflang="en">Charter Schools Program</a></div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/federal-appropriations" hreflang="en">federal appropriations</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=23981&amp;2=field_comments&amp;3=comment" token="F5JaxEEbaxw8EtdgMye1HzxOTRSadtIVua5mjUxOulo"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 31 Aug 2020 19:55:25 +0000 Melinda 23981 at https://www.publiccharters.org Three Charter Schools Honored as 2020 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2020/08/20/three-charter-schools-honored-2020-us-department-education-green-ribbon <span>Three Charter Schools Honored as 2020 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/melinda" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Melinda</span></span> <span>Wed, 08/12/2020 - 11:17</span> <div class="uppercase field field--name-field-news-item-types field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/latest-news/category/blog" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-author-bio field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/node/23465" hreflang="en">Yueting Xu</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-pub-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-08-20T12:00:00Z">August 20, 2020</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="media media-image view-mode-display"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/images/2020-08/Green%20Charter%20School%20Stock%20Image.jpg?itok=YG0WuZ9r" width="250" height="250" alt="Photo of hands planting sapling" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) honors schools each year for their sustainable facilities, health practices, and great environmental education. ED-GRS—developed in 2011—has contributed to a growing understanding of what the green school movement is across the country.</p> <p>Schools honored with the ED-GRS award do an exceptional job in each of the three pillars of the award: reducing environmental impact; promoting a healthy physical and mental environment; and offering effective environmental and sustainability education. This year, the U.S. Department of Education recognized 39 schools, 11 districts and 5 postsecondary institutions with the award.</p> <p>Here are the three public charter schools honored this year:</p> <h3><strong>1. Odyssey Charter School (Delaware)</strong></h3> <p>Odyssey Charter School (OCS) is an innovative and diverse dual-language Greek school in Wilmington, Delaware. OCS has 24 raised bed gardens and an outdoor vertical garden providing every student a chance to engage in hands-on gardening activities and raise their awareness of environmental protection. OCS earned an Eco-Schools Green Flag in 2019, making it the first charter school in Delaware to earn this international award.</p> <p>Not only has OCS made reducing plastic waste an institutional practice, they played an active role in advocating for a Delaware law that bans single-use plastic bags. OCS students participated in every stage of the legislative process to get the bill passed.</p> <p>OCS is also one of three leading schools to plan a statewide Youth Environmental Summit to make environmental education accessible to students beyond its own community.</p> <h3><strong>2. SEEQS: The School for Examining Essential Questions of Sustainability (Hawaii)</strong></h3> <p>SEEQS is a high-performing charter middle school in Honolulu serving 180 students. What makes SEEQS stand out is their environmental and sustainability education.</p> <p>Every student is required to enroll in an Essential Question of Sustainability (EQS) course, each designed around an essential question on a topic relevant to Hawaii. One example of an EQS project is called “Rain Gardens,” which contributes to the health of local watershed and prevents flooding on campus.</p> <p>Taking advantage of the size of its large campus, SEEQS has built two semi-permanent outdoor classrooms to minimize energy use. SEEQS also took steps to reduce harmful consumption by shifting away from Styrofoam lunch trays, implementing a one-to-one Chromebook program to reduce paper use, and issuing a ban on single-use plastic drink containers on campus.</p> <h3><strong>3. Cape Romain Environmental Education Charter School (South Carolina)</strong></h3> <p>Cape Romain Environmental Education Charter School (CREECS) is an environmentally themed charter school located in the town of McClellanville, South Carolina.</p> <p>In order to maintain good air quality both outdoors and indoors, CREECS participated in the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) Breathe Better program by reducing vehicles on campus and building a hallway aeroponic garden and terrarium to help filter the indoor air. As a chemical-free campus, no pesticides or fertilizers are used and CREECS is also getting the school garden certified organic by the USDA.</p> <p>All CREECS students attend environmental education class at least twice per week. These classes immerse students in environmental stewardship through meaningful and innovative learning experiences. In 2016, CREECS was awarded the SCDHEC’s Champions of the Environment Grant for their living shoreline restoration project.</p> <p>Congratulations to these charter schools for going above and beyond in ‘going green!’ These schools show education is much more than what’s happening in the classroom.</p> <p> </p> <p><em>Yueting (Cynthia) Xu is the data specialist at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.</em></p></div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=23466&amp;2=field_comments&amp;3=comment" token="EK8Sk0D6eBB6grsUHCGmoWc6SL4GzE2pyM1FmQCBkwM"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Wed, 12 Aug 2020 15:17:09 +0000 Melinda 23466 at https://www.publiccharters.org From a Career in Criminal Justice to Legal Advocacy for Charter Schools https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2020/08/18/career-criminal-justice-legal-advocacy-charter-schools <span>From a Career in Criminal Justice to Legal Advocacy for Charter Schools</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/melinda" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Melinda</span></span> <span>Mon, 08/17/2020 - 11:30</span> <div class="uppercase field field--name-field-news-item-types field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/latest-news/category/blog" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-author-bio field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about-us/staff/robert-reed-jr" hreflang="en">Robert Reed Jr.</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-pub-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-08-18T12:00:00Z">August 18, 2020</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="media media-image view-mode-display"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/images/2020-08/Black%20hands%20clasped%20with%20legal%20scales_0.png?itok=oR0XYeot" width="250" height="250" alt="Black hands clasped with legal scales" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>When I became a prosecutor in Washington, D.C. after law school, I became disheartened with what I saw in the criminal justice system and the high rates of mostly Black men entering the system. Black men, like myself.</p> <p>I believed—still believe—that if they had just benefited from positive and supportive circumstances at an earlier age, entire families and communities would have gained from those investments. Instead, their communities were bereft of the potential each of them possessed to become pillars and positive role models for successive generations. I became motivated to explore solutions that would address the root of the problem rather than the end result, namely enhanced K-12 educational opportunities.</p> <p>To oversimplify it, that is why I was attracted to working in the legal field of the public charter school sector. It endeavors to address historic educational imbalances and provides disadvantaged students who are predominately Black and Latino with high-quality public educational options.</p> <p>In my mind, it's about much more than education; it's about the pursuit of social justice and equity. For more on my journey, read the full blog post on <a href="https://www.justisconnection.com/justisnowblog/lightandliberty"><strong>Justis Connection</strong></a>.</p> <p> </p> <p><em><a href="https://www.publiccharters.org/about-us/staff/robert-reed-jr"><strong>Robert Reed, Jr.</strong></a>, is the vice president of legal affairs at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.</em></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/legal-advocacy" hreflang="en">legal advocacy</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=23562&amp;2=field_comments&amp;3=comment" token="5H1c3VGMEivULpJ-ixd1OyUzatJfsCp_5kpuHMe1TBs"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 17 Aug 2020 15:30:48 +0000 Melinda 23562 at https://www.publiccharters.org Are There For-Profit Charter Schools? Dispelling the Myth. https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2020/08/11/are-there-profit-charter-schools-dispelling-myth <span>Are There For-Profit Charter Schools? Dispelling the Myth.</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/melinda" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Melinda</span></span> <span>Tue, 08/11/2020 - 09:27</span> <div class="uppercase field field--name-field-news-item-types field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/latest-news/category/blog" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-author-bio field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about-us/staff/jamison-white" hreflang="en">Jamison White</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-pub-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-08-11T12:00:00Z">August 11, 2020</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="media media-image view-mode-display"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/images/2020-08/EMO%20Blog%20Post%20%281%29.jpg?itok=Lkh7Wry9" width="250" height="250" alt="Black female student learning remotely" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span><span>All charter schools are public schools. Yet many people insist that nefarious “for-profit charter schools” exist and call for their defunding. This myth—and similar calls to stop the so-called privatization of public education—baffles those that understand the mechanics of charter schools. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>While part of the false narrative about “for-profit charter schools” can be traced back to intentional misinformation spread by charter opponents, there is also genuine misunderstanding about how charter schools operate that adds to the confusion. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>To clear up these misconceptions, here are some answers to common questions about charter schools that are worth knowing:</span></span></span></p> <h3><strong>What is a Charter?</strong></h3> <p><span><span><span>The “charter” in charter schools refers to a written contract allowing for the establishment of a public school, often independent of the school district. The state or jurisdiction’s legislature tasks entities known as authorizers with the responsibility of approving, overseeing, and renewing charters in order to better the public education sector. </span></span></span></p> <h3><strong>What are Authorizers?</strong></h3> <p><span><span><span>Authorizers are granted jurisdiction by a legislature to approve, oversee, and renew charter schools. These are <a href="https://www.qualitycharters.org/authorizer-types/"><strong>typically public agencies</strong></a>, such as local school districts/municipalities and state departments of education. In some states, the legislature grants universities, independent charter boards, and non-profit organizations authorizing ability. In order to remain open and have their charter renewed, charter schools must demonstrate success. Authorizers must therefore hold charter schools to the same (or higher) accountability standards as district-run schools. </span></span></span></p> <h3><strong>Why do Charter Schools Exist?</strong></h3> <p><span><span><span>State constitutions require state governments to provide their residents free access to public school education. Charter schools achieve this mandate while functioning independently of their local school district. As such, charter schools can be hubs of educational innovation and often focus on creative school environments, customized teaching approaches, alternative curricula to meet the needs of their students and families, or all of the above. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>With their flexibility, charter schools may also use a variety of different management structures. For some, the myth of “for-profit charter schools” comes from confusion about the function of these management organizations.</span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span><strong><span><span><span>What is a Management Organization?</span></span></span></strong></span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span>Management organizations operate at least three charter schools and serve a minimum of 300 students. Some refer to these organizations as networks. While roughly 60% of charter schools operate as single-site schools, about 40% of charter schools choose to contract with a management organization for some form of support. These organizations can offer a wide range of services to schools such as financial, legal, and pedagogical support, staff training, and sometimes even overall administration and leadership of the school. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The vast majority of these organizations are non-profits and education experts refer to them as charter management organizations (CMOs). CMOs manage roughly 30% of charter schools and campuses, and students attending CMO-managed schools appear to <a href="https://credo.stanford.edu/pdfs/CMO%20FINAL.pdf"><strong>show stronger academic growth</strong></a> than those in district-run schools or independently operated charter schools. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>A management organization may also be a for-profit education management organization (EMO). Like CMOs, EMOs contract with a school to provide a specific management-related service such as back-office support, curriculum, or staffing. Because many EMOs serve as vendors for specific services, some refer to these schools as vendor-operated schools. Roughly 10% of charter schools and campuses contract with EMOs for management-related services. EMOs do not typically hold or manage a school’s charter—they simply provide services that the school needs. However, one state, Arizona, allows EMOs to both manage the public charter school and hold the charter. </span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span><strong>Where do Virtual Charter Schools Come In?</strong></span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span>EMOs can also provide online platforms for a group of virtual charter schools. Many have noted that because these EMOs operate the online platform—which is fundamental for a virtual school—they essentially operate the virtual school in its entirety. Roughly 10% of schools that contract with EMOs are full-time virtual schools, compared to less than 3% for CMOs. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Due to concerns about oversight and uneven academic performance in some of these schools, the National Alliance joined a <a href="https://www.publiccharters.org/publications/call-action-improve-quality-full-time-virtual-charter-public-schools"><strong>coalition of education organizations</strong></a> in calling for changes to state laws to address these issues at full-time virtual schools. The National Alliance strongly believes that transparency and accountability measures are an integral component to ensuring all children have access to a high-quality public education. </span></span></span></p> <h3><span><span><span><strong><span><span><span>Why Not Ban Charter Schools from Hiring For-Profit Companies?</span></span></span></strong></span></span></span></h3> <p><span><span><span>It is understandable to be concerned that EMOs may offer recommendations to a school for their personal financial gain. However, preventing abuse and financial mismanagement falls under the purview of charter authorizers. To ensure schools are acting in the best interests of the families in their communities, charter laws across the nation require a high degree of financial transparency and oversight. The National Alliance works to <a href="https://www.publiccharters.org/our-work/publications/measuring-model-ranking-state-public-charter-school-laws-2020"><strong>improve state laws</strong></a> that hold both charter schools and their authorizers to the highest standards of accountability. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Although some people may feel for-profit companies have no place in education, for-profit companies regularly work with public and governmental agencies—including district schools—to provide management services. Hiring or contracting with a for-profit entity does not inherently make the receiving entity for-profit as well. To categorically prevent only charter schools from engaging with such companies holds them to an unfair standard not applied to any other institutions and prevents charter schools from accessing resources that could lead to higher student achievement.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>It is true that not all EMOs are high performing. It is also true that thousands of public schools with other management structures—both charter and district—also struggle with performance. This is a problem Americans cannot afford to ignore. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>As a society, we need to stand up for excellent public schools regardless of management structure and oppose schools that are consistently failing students and exacerbating inequality. With so many students in underperforming schools, limiting options makes no sense. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>It is time for us to move past bickering over bureaucracy and instead focus on empowering all public schools to help all students achieve.</span></span></span></p> <p> </p> <p><span><span><span><a href="https://www.publiccharters.org/about-us/staff/jamison-white"><strong>Jamison White</strong></a><em> is the senior manager of data and research at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.</em></span></span></span></p></div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=23451&amp;2=field_comments&amp;3=comment" token="qUDAVzxXYEVbcPlHj3c_8TptV49GDemDWxs7PhJ5Kz0"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 11 Aug 2020 13:27:56 +0000 Melinda 23451 at https://www.publiccharters.org 5 Innovative Ideas for Recruiting Teachers of Color https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2020/07/29/5-innovative-ideas-recruiting-teachers-color <span>5 Innovative Ideas for Recruiting Teachers of Color</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/melinda" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Melinda</span></span> <span>Fri, 07/24/2020 - 11:39</span> <div class="uppercase field field--name-field-news-item-types field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/latest-news/category/blog" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-author-bio field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/node/22764" hreflang="en">Zoie Jones</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-pub-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-07-29T12:00:00Z">July 29, 2020</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="media media-image view-mode-display"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/images/2020-07/Black%20female%20teacher%20in%20computer%20classroom.png?itok=NWY-fzsS" width="250" height="250" alt="Black female teacher in computer classroom" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span><span><span>Diversifying the pipeline of teachers in classrooms has been a historic struggle for schools of all types. According to the </span></span><a href="https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d17/tables/dt17_209.23.asp?referer=raceindicators"><strong><span>most recent data</span></strong></a><span><span> from the </span></span><span>U.S. Department of Education<span>, over half of K-12 students are students of color, yet only about 30% of teachers are of color at charter schools. The percent of teachers of color at district schools is even lower at 20%. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Either way, that’s a big disparity. And one that I have noticed myself as a student of color and aspiring teacher.</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>As part of my fellowship </span></span><span>with the National Alliance this summer<span>, I have spent part of my time researching innovative and interesting programs across our country that aim to recruit, train, and mentor teachers from diverse backgrounds. </span></span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>During my time as a fellow, I have witnessed just how much the National Alliance believes in the power of diversifying the teacher workforce. Most recently, the National Alliance published a </span><strong><a href="https://www.publiccharters.org/sites/default/files/documents/2019-10/PI-talent-r4.pdf"><span>report</span></a></strong><span><strong> </strong>with Public Impact highlighting how school leaders of color recruit, train, and support teachers of color.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span><span>Here are five resources I found that schools can adapt or implement to recruit teachers of color: </span></span></span></span></p> <ol> <li><span><span><strong><span>‘Grow Your Own’ Programs</span></strong></span></span></li> </ol> <p><span><span><span>In </span><strong><a href="https://www.ewa.org/sites/main/files/file-attachments/conra-gist-grow-your-own.pdf"><span>recent research</span></a></strong><span>, ‘Grow Your Own’ programs (GYO) have been cited as an effective strategy for states and schools to help recruit and retain teachers of color. GYO teacher programs aim to address teacher shortages, retention issues, and diversity by employing a variety of strategies that aim to recruit teachers from local communities. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>For one example, </span><strong><a href="https://growyourownteachers.org/"><span>GYO Illinois</span></a></strong><span><strong> </strong>is a GYO program that ushers promising candidates through the teacher pipeline via partnerships between schools, teacher preparation programs, and community organizations. This program provides wrap-around support to teacher candidates including mentoring, coaching, test prep, and financial aid.</span></span></span></p> <ol start="2"> <li><span><span><strong><span>High School Teacher Cadet Programs</span></strong></span></span></li> </ol> <p><span><span><span>Amid predictions of teacher shortages, high school teacher cadet programs began spreading in the mid-1980s. These programs often allow students in high school to take one or more elective courses related to teaching. High school teacher cadet programs is an innovative approach to recruiting talented youth to the teaching profession. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The </span><strong><a href="https://www.teachercadets.com/"><span>South Carolina Teacher Cadet Program</span></a></strong><span> has served as a premier national model of these types of programs. Piloted in four South Carolina high schools in 1985-86, the program has grown to partner with 188 South Carolina high schools. Individuals in the program report that the coursework and field experience offered increased their knowledge of the teaching profession and more than 71,500 students have participated in the program’s 35-year history.  </span></span></span></p> <ol start="3"> <li><span><span><strong><span>Teaching Residencies</span></strong></span></span></li> </ol> <p><span><span><span>Similar to the medical residency model,<strong> </strong></span><strong><a href="https://nctresidencies.org/about/residency-model-teacher-mentor-programs/"><span>teacher residences</span></a></strong><span> provide aspiring teachers with a rigorous full-year classroom apprenticeship with a masters-level education. Teacher residency programs offer a unique blend of theory and practice. Residents receive a stipend for living expenses throughout their training year. Additionally, residents receive a subsidized master’s degree upon completion of the residency. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><strong><a href="https://createteacherresidency.org/"><span>CREATE</span></a></strong><span> is a teacher residency program at Georgia State University. Through a three-year residency, new teachers are offered a comprehensive support system. Residents can serve at charter schools through a partnership with the </span><span><a href="https://atlncs.org/"><strong>Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School’s Center for Collaborative Learning</strong></a>.</span></span></span></p> <ol start="4"> <li><span><span><strong><span>Relationship-based Recruitment</span></strong></span></span></li> </ol> <p><span><span><span>Building personal relationships with diverse students at institutions of higher education can be an effective strategy in diversifying the teacher pipeline. Hosting targeted events to connect with upcoming candidates can allow recruiters to build meaningful relationships with potential educators. Districts benefit from connecting with potential candidates before they decide to apply. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>School leaders at </span><strong><a href="https://valorcollegiate.org/"><span>Valor Collegiate Academies</span></a></strong><span> have maintained a strong commitment to minority staff recruitment. Significant staffing and budget resources are dedicated to meet the charter school network and school staff diversity goals. Valor has a staff member whose responsibilities include teacher recruitment. This member attends job fairs throughout the country to promote the school. The network also budgets $20,000 per year to fly in high-quality teaching candidates for interviews, a barrier for many applicants of color.  </span></span></span></p> <ol start="5"> <li><span><span><strong><span>College Fellows</span></strong></span></span></li> </ol> <p><span><span><span>Education fellowships for college students offer unparalleled opportunities for hands-on experiences. Some fellowships also offer college students an opportunity to pursue their master’s degree as a part of the program or help students finance a graduate or postgraduate education. Other fellowships offer immersive internships for college students.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The </span><strong><a href="https://uncf.org/pages/walton"><span>Walton-UNCF K-12 Education Fellowship</span></a></strong><span>—the program I am participating in this summer—is a talent and leadership initiative aimed at building a pipeline of high-achieving Black students engaged in education. Walton Fellows are exposed to professional careers at leading K-12 education organizations and schools as they approach their senior year of college. As a Walton-UNCF fellow serving at the National Alliance, I can attest to the fact that this fellowship provides a unique opportunity to contribute to the greater efforts of educational organizations throughout America. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>While the above resources for recruiting teachers of color should be a consideration for every school, we know that putting these measures in place is only the first step. Schools also need to provide supports for their teachers of color to thrive and a pipeline for them to advance.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>But it is always good to take the first step. </span></span></span></p> <p> </p> <p><span><span><em><span>Zoie Jones is a 2020 Walton-UNCF K-12 Education Fellow serving with the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. She is a rising senior at Spelman College, a historically black college and university in Atlanta, majoring in Elementary Education. After graduation, Zoie aspires to become a teacher focusing her efforts on educating and inspiring children from low-income communities. </span></em></span></span></p></div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=22762&amp;2=field_comments&amp;3=comment" token="RR0ZTavky1XO6KNCYpNPPSV7ER8ELTDOlr9hi0eWbkI"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Fri, 24 Jul 2020 15:39:14 +0000 Melinda 22762 at https://www.publiccharters.org Six Ways the New House Infrastructure Bill Could Help Charter Schools https://www.publiccharters.org/latest-news/2020/07/09/six-ways-new-house-infrastructure-bill-could-help-charter-schools <span>Six Ways the New House Infrastructure Bill Could Help Charter Schools </span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/melinda" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Melinda</span></span> <span>Tue, 07/07/2020 - 16:11</span> <div class="uppercase field field--name-field-news-item-types field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><a href="/latest-news/category/blog" hreflang="en">Blog</a></div> <div class="field field--name-field-author-bio field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about-us/staff/christy-wolfe" hreflang="en">Christy Wolfe</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-pub-date field--type-datetime field--label-hidden field--item"><time datetime="2020-07-09T12:00:00Z">July 9, 2020</time> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-image-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--item"><article class="media media-image view-mode-display"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/images/2020-07/Blog%20%28250px%29.png?itok=syJmsdYg" width="250" height="250" alt="Square photo of playground and school building" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> </article> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the INVEST in America Act (H.R. 2)—a $1.5 trillion bill designed to upgrade a wide range national infrastructure while also stimulating the economy. While it is not likely to be signed into law any time in the near future, it is important to understand the provisions that could potentially benefit charter schools. Some of these provisions could wind up moving as standalone provisions or part of bills in coming years, such as permanent authority for New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC).</p> <p>The six ways the INVEST in America Act could specifically benefit charter schools are as follows:</p> <h3>1. Direct grants for high need schools</h3> <p>The INVEST in America Act includes $100 billion (from Fiscal Year 2020 through Fiscal Year 2024) in state formula grants targeted at high-poverty schools with facilities that pose health and safety risks to students and staff. Charter schools are included as local educational agencies. District authorized charters would have to receive funds through their district, which makes it less likely they would receive funds. The language prohibits funds from being used by “schools operated by a for-profit entity”. States would have the option of including, as eligibility criteria, whether an LEA is among those with the greatest need for school facilities improvement and whether it is among those with the most limited capacity to raise funds for the long-term improvement of school facilities. It also prohibits funds from being used for charter schools that lease their facility from an individual or private entity that has a direct or indirect interest in the schools and has a governance role in the school.</p> <h3>2. Bonds for school construction and renovations</h3> <p>The bill includes two bond provisions that have the potential to provide significant assistance to meet the facility needs of charter schools:</p> <ol> <li> <p>The bill would reauthorize the Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZABs) authority, which existed from 1997 until 2016, after which it was repealed by Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. It makes funds easier to use by expanding its use to cover construction costs. ($1.4 billion per year)</p> </li> <li> <p>The bill would also create—through the Internal Revenue Code—a new tax-credit bond authority called School Infrastructure Bonds (SIBs), which would have the same general financing structure as QZABs. SIBs would be a 100% tax credit on interest paid up to the state’s share of $10 billion each year for fiscal years 2020, 2021, and 2022.</p> </li> </ol> <h3>3. Permanent authority for New Markets Tax Credit and Increased Allocation </h3> <p>NMTC provides significant support to meet the needs of charter schools. Making its authority permanent means that Congress will not need to renew it each year or for certain time frames, which will help build the pipeline of allocations for this program.</p> <h3>4. Reinstatement of advanced refunding bonds</h3> <p>The bill would reinstate advanced refunding bonds, an important tool for charter schools to reduce the cost of their bond financing when interest rates drop. This provision was eliminated in the 2017 tax reform bill.</p> <h3>5. Technology access and broadband infrastructure </h3> <p>The bill authorizes a significant investment—$100 billion—in the nation’s broadband infrastructure, including increased allocations for E-Rate and funds for devices for students.</p> <ul> <li>$5 billion is authorizes for E-rate and there are state (formula) and local (competitive) grant funds of $685 million and $625 million respectively for digital equity grants to address broadband access.</li> <li>$85 billion to build out broadband networks to underserved areas.</li> </ul> <p>Earlier this year, the National Alliance used U.S. census tracts to <a href="https://www.publiccharters.org/our-work/publications/closing-digital-divide">map the lack of access to technology and devices</a> for charter school students and found that at least $243 million is needed to close the device and connectivity gaps for students in charter schools.</p> <h3>6. Childcare infrastructure</h3> <p>Charter schools that provide childcare would be able to access funds from a $10 billion federal investment designed to leverage additional state and local funding that will address structural challenges and upgrading childcare facilities to ensure are safe, appropriate, and able to comply with current and future public health directives. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services would distribute grants to states based upon a needs assessment regarding facilities of childcare providers and would award grants to intermediaries (including CDFIs) to assist providers with technical assistance and financing.</p> <p>Regardless of the bill’s outcome, the National Alliance will continue to advocate on behalf of policies that will improve access to facilities and reduce facility costs for charter schools. </p> <p> </p> <p><em>Christy Wolfe is the vice president of policy and planning at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools</em></p> <p> </p> <blockquote> <h4>Learn more about the National Alliance's <a href="https://www.publiccharters.org/our-work/publications/strengthening-federal-investment-charter-school-facilities"><strong>policy proposals for facilities</strong></a> and see the <a href="https://facilitycenter.publiccharters.org/"><strong>Charter Schools Facility Center at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools</strong></a> for resources.</h4> </blockquote></div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/tags/facilities-funding" hreflang="en">facilities funding</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=21876&amp;2=field_comments&amp;3=comment" token="61UzCWy-ivQ6Z0Hpn9pqG52h1I4r853ooKBL4ZAgFZU"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 07 Jul 2020 20:11:29 +0000 Melinda 21876 at https://www.publiccharters.org